California Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC criminalizes driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), which means the driver can no longer drive like someone sober due to any drug, including legal prescription medications or marijuana.
Vehicle Code 23152(g) makes it a crime to drive under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol.
Under California law, a drug is defined as “a substance other than alcohol that can affect your nervous system, brain, or muscles that would impair your ability to drive as an ordinarily cautious person, in full possession of your faculties using reasonable care.”
Legal drugs include marijuana, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and cold medicines.
Unlike alcohol, there is no specific limit for drugs, such as 0.08% BAC legal limit for alcohol. The law only says it's illegal for somebody to drive “under the influence” of drugs – legal or illegal.
DUID is usually a misdemeanor crime that carries penalties of 3 to 5 years' probation, a fine, DUI school, and a driver's license suspension.
A felony case can be filed if it's the defendant's fourth or more DUI offense, a prior felony DUI conviction, or the DUI caused injury to another person.
If you are convicted of DUID as a felony, you could be fined up to $1,000 and be sentenced to up to 3 years in jail.
Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers will take a closer look below to give you a better understanding.
When is a DUI Blood Test Required?
Anyone who was arrested can't legally refuse to take a chemical test. Police can require a DUI blood test if they have reasonable cause to believe you are driving under the influence of drugs, and they have a straightforward indication blood test will show evidence you are under the influence.
It should be noted. However, your blood can't be taken forcibly without your consent unless law enforcement has obtained a warrant.
Once a blood sample has been taken, it will be sent out for a DUI toxicology screen to detect any drugs in your system.
The testimony of a drug recognition expert (DRE) usually is substantial evidence in a DUID case under California Vehicle Code 23152(f) or 23152(g).
Does Someone Need to be Under the Influence of an Illegal Substance to be Arrested for a DUI?
The answer to this is no. I've had many clients get arrested for DUI when they didn't have any alcohol in their system. They had marijuana which is now legal.
People are getting busted left and suitable for a DUI involving marijuana. Also, prescription medication is a big way that police catch people under the influence.
Let's say you take your prescribed medication. It causes you to become unsafe to operate a motor vehicle for whatever reason.
You get pulled over. You're lethargic. You don't look like you can drive properly. They get a drug recognition expert out there performing a bunch of tests. They can get you for a DUI for that.
Any substance that affects your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, whether it's legal or illegal, can cause you to get a DUI in Los Angeles county. I see it all the time.
Best Legal Defense Strategy for DUID
So, if you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, you need somebody who's got experience; I've been doing this for 30 years. I worked for the DA's office in the early 1990s, and in 1994, I opened my practice defending people just like you who are arrested for DUIs.
So, if you were using alcohol and got arrested, if you were using any other substance and the police arrested you, you will need the best DUI defense attorney; you've come to the right place.
Pick up the phone and make the call. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We'll have you come in with the ticket they gave you. Bring your pink slip and any other information they provided you.
The pink slip is your temporary driver's license. There also may be a pink booking slip. Bring that as well. Sometimes that has your blood alcohol level on it.
I'm going to look at everything. We'll go over your whole story, and then I'll be able to give you an idea of what you're facing.
I'm going to want to see the police report and speak to the prosecutor before we make any final decisions on how we're going to handle your case, and of course, speaking to you and getting your side of the story is very important. We'll talk about everything and then get our game plan together.
It's not just a game plan to handle the DUI in court. It's also a game plan to take the DMV related to your driver’s license.
So, it's imperative. If you've been busted for DUI and you're saying to yourself, I didn't have any alcohol in my system; I don't understand how these guys can get me for a DUI, then you don't understand DUI law.
It's straightforward. There's an implied consent law. Anytime the police believe that you're intoxicated with anything, they can ask you to take a test -- either a blood test, a breath test -- they can get their drug recognition expert out there to evaluate you.
They can evaluate your blood which would give them a good idea of what was in your system. Then they're going to look at what their observations are of you. If you are driving erratically, if you can't walk properly or talk properly, in their subjective opinion, they're going to use all of that against you to try to get you for a DUI, regardless of whatever the substance is.
If there's no substance in your system, that's a different story. You need the best DUI defense attorney. Pick up the phone now. I stand at the ready to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County, and we offer a free case evaluation by calling 213-542-0963.